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Top 5 Digital Trends for 2020

Blog: Jim Sinur

2020 is a tipping point year for digital. The executives have tasted digital benefits in a tactical fashion, for the most part, and see the promise. Now top management is looking to use digital strategically to look for opportunities or threats in a more proactive manner. In some cases, executives will want their organization to be the disruptor rather than being reactively disrupted. This is my best shot at predicting the likely trends based on business and technical predictions enumerated below.

Business World

The world of business is in a state of flux and flex like it has never been before. We can see it all around us with threats of economic and real war. Stability is a concept that seems to be fading at an ever-increasing rate of speed. Organizations will be moving at high speed and yet ready for a variety of conditional changes that can be enabled by leveraging more digital listening posts and making decision opportunities from big, fast and dark data. The agility provided by digital capabilities will be faster to respond to directional turning and tuning. Digital practice becomes digital momentum in 2020 by leveraging digital’s ability to intercept, expect and react to change.

Technical World 

Digital technologies have been used tactically to increase automation, speed, and agility in an ever-increasing manner over the past few years in an isolated fashion for the most part. New combinations of complementary digital technologies will be leveraged to keep pace with increasing demands from the need for better business outcomes. A stronger, more secure, and faster internet will enable a good portion of the 50% of the unserved world to join the internet and for more business to be completed securely there. Maybe “OK Boomer” will fix this one problem 🙂

Top Digital Trends

1.  Anticipation will be the crown jewel of digital desire by putting a premium on intelligent sensing, pattern recognition, decisions, and appropriate actions. This means that autonomous outposts will be feeding in their observations to match strategic plans that outline expected and unexpected opportunities or threats. Digital plays well here with advanced predictive analytics, decision models, AI, data mining, citizen development, corporate performance, and bots.

2.  Since 70% of customers will now leave you if they are not treated properly, an emerging balance between customer goals and organizational goals will have to be established and tuned frequently. While the elusive personalization goal will not be attained anytime soon, customer excellence will now be a major theme for organizations going forward. This excellence will go beyond simple channel customization and ease of use efforts to identifying the real customer journey that breaks down your functional silos and how your organization can contribute it’s part to the journey even if other organizations are involved. Digital plays here too with customer journey mapping, customer journey mining, NLP, emotive AI, smart digital assistants, and knowledge accelerators for employees interacting with customers. Maybe customers will believe that organizations have their best interests at heart.

3.  Automation has been and will still be a major deliverable of digital to make the lives of customers, employees, and managers better. While the elusive straight-through processing ideal may be closer, the collaboration and cooperation of automation, machines, autonomous bots, and people will be a major challenge and benefit of digital in the future. The digital play here is RPA, low code, citizen development, AI, mining, processes, and analytics.

4.  There is and will continue to be a huge mismatch on jobs, skills, and locations. The markets, let alone organizations, can’t keep up with the level of skills needed to become and stay on top of digital opportunities. Digital can lend a hand in capturing knowledge, expertise and effective practices. By leveraging NLP, knowledge ontologies, AI, data/process mining, video, digital assistants, and knowledge accelerators, organizations can narrow the skills gaps over time.

5.  The aggregation of these many digital technologies poses a challenge for all organizations otherwise new technology silos will emerge. As all of these digital technologies will need to allow organizations to complete businesses securely across clouds, new digital platforms are emerging with smart security plus built-in digital combinations that enable the trends aforementioned. There will also be the emergence of specialty digital business platforms by vertical industry plus horizontal business functions like sales and field management. There will also be bottom-up technology combinations that will serve business needs like digital platforms for intelligent automation, collaboration, and content capture/management.

Net; Net:

Digital is gaining speed and momentum and is likely to continue to even in established organizations with or without new business models. 2020 will be a key year for digital to be tested in more strategic ways. From unified decision making to human augmentation with anticipation, digital will be assisting us more and more. Heck, it is even helping us with our legacy portfolios by surrounding, extending them and rewriting them fast with agility. The challenge for us is to think strategically and not grab tactical benefits which are real indeed.

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